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David Adams Leeming

Forfatter af The World of Myth: An Anthology

35 Works 2,433 Members 14 Reviews

Om forfatteren

David A. Leeming is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He is the author or editor of numerous books on world mythology, including The Oxford Companion to World Mythology (2005).

Værker af David Adams Leeming

The World of Myth: An Anthology (1990) 434 eksemplarer
James Baldwin: A Biography (2015) 277 eksemplarer
Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero (1973) 145 eksemplarer
Myth: A Biography of Belief (2001) 82 eksemplarer
God: Myths of the Male Divine (1996) 65 eksemplarer
Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology (1999) — Redaktør — 65 eksemplarer
A Dictionary of Asian Mythology (2001) 62 eksemplarer
The Handy Mythology Answer Book (2014) 39 eksemplarer

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4. James Baldwin : a Biography by David Adams Leeming
published: 1994
format: 420 page hardcover
acquired: library
read: Jan 1-19
time reading: 18 hr 3 min, 2.6 min/page
rating: 4

I read this to get me excited about reading Baldwin this year and learn more about what kind of person he was. And it did get me excited at first because Baldwin is fascinating. He was that kind of energetic personality that can never settle down. It seems he always felt to the need to be bold, and do something slightly unexpected, and somehow to hover on the edge of some kind of self-destabilization, while at the same time always craving a stability. When he wrote, it was from his life. It seems his personality, boldness and incisive self-analysis provided the power behind his fiction and essays. And, on top of all that, he was black and gay in an electric time and threw himself into the midst of the Civil Rights movement.

It curious because my view of Baldwin isn't as a prominent Civil Right leader, but as curious highbrow writer I didn't know much else about. It's not like I ever thought MLK, Malcolm X and James Baldwin in same formative way. And there was something different about him. He was raised in Harlem, became a preacher at 14 (significantly influencing his writing and speaking styles), but his life led him to a kind of bohemian 1940's Greenwich Village and then to a Paris of expats, hanging out with a more liberal and largely white crowd. He would be mocked as not being black enough, and it seems he was always writing to ear of the liberal white (and very Jewish) crowd. That is to say he was both prominent and on the edge.

(I should note I'm liberal, white and Jewish, so maybe I'm the right kind of reader.)

Leeming met Baldwin in Istanbul in the mid 1960's, at the height of his fame after [The Fire Next time]. He become close with Baldwin and his milieu in Istanbul, and later worked for Baldwin organizing his papers. So, he writes from some intimacy and knowledge about his writing and world, including some anecdotes on their relationship. After he wrote a letter to Baldwin complaining about how his lifestyle was hurting him and his writing, Baldwin wrote him back, where, paraphrased by Leeming, "He declared...I must understand that disorder was in a sense a necessary aspect of his life as a writer. He could not afford to be tamed." He draws a life of Baldwin through a collection of small details, not so much bringing his subject to life as letting the reader construct it from the information. Every book Baldwin published gets a chapter, and every moment in his and his various intimate relationships, many platonic, gets covered. Sometimes chapters end in what practically amount to lists of various people he met while in one city or another. It's treasure trove of compressed information and oddly works to construct this unusual personality. And, of course, it's a little overwhelming. Instead of rushing out to Baldwin's first book, I need a little break to recover.

Recommended to those interested in Baldwin and willing the put in the time this book may take.

… (mere)
2 stem
dchaikin | Jan 25, 2019 |
Good overall listing. Nothing in great depth --- but I really liked one observation: Page 47. It should be emphasized at this stage in our biography that archeological evidence suggests that by the time of the flowering of the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt in the third millennium B.C.E., Goddess had had the preeminence of what we now think of as God for at least some 25,000 years in most parts of the wold. The Mal-oriented view that eventually achieved supremacy can claim only some 5,000 years of history.… (mere)
melsbks | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jan 6, 2019 |
Overlooked artist and mentor of James Baldwin. Queer and roots in knoxville.
sirk.bronstad | Feb 16, 2017 |


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